Question: Does any one know how to start such a claim? I’ve spoken to a personal injuries lawyer who has told me I have no hope of winning as I’ve only been with the same employer for 7 years and RSI takes much longer than that to develop. I know my employer is insured (and well insured) for workplace injury claims – I also realise I would have to prove that the employer was to blame and it is not an easy path to follow. He suggested that I walk out of my job and pursue a claim for constructive unfair dismissal. Comments please?
Answer 1: It sounds as if you need to consult a different lawyer. It certainly doesn’t take “much longer than 7 years” to develop RSI problems. A lot of personal injury lawyers will give an initial assessment of a case without charge, to tell you whether it’s worth your (and their) while to pursue it. You could try talking to a different firm and see what they say about it. The idea of quitting with the intention of pursuing a constructive dismissal claim seems very risky, unless you’ve got a cast-iron case. It seems especially risky coming from a solicitor who’s just proved he doesn’t know much about RSI. He (or she) might be just as badly informed about constructive dismissal claims. See the Resources page on the website ) for phone numbers you can ring to get details of p.i. lawyers near you.
Answer 2: One possible company that pursue Personal Injury Claims are Thompsons http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/. They offer a free initial consultation as far as I know. I was in a job for only three months before I started getting problems and the legal advice I’ve been offered has not said that this is too early. I’ve been informed that it is hard to prove the job caused the problem – however, if the employer takes no action once they’ve been informed of a problem they are being negligent and if, during their delay, the problem has worsened your case is even stronger.
Answer 3: I have sent my employer a lot of information about RSI and also my full medical report as well as the “return to work plan”. The only comment I have had back from my Boss is that he needs to look at the various laws and can I provide the full references so that he can get copies from the law library. I know that he is stalling – but I am also keeping copies of everything he has had. If nothing is done I intend to have a water tight case – I don’t want to take this path but I feel that I am being forced into it. I have regained about 80% of the use of my right arm but it does ache all the time – I am due back at work next week but if I go back to the same routine it will not be long before I am off work again. This time it has taken me 8 weeks to recover this far.
Answer 4: I can sympathize with you whole heartedly. It’s amazing what stalling tactics they use. It’s amazing that they are more interested in the legality of things rather than caring for their staff. I’ve gone from the extremes of there is no evidence/information available to there is too much info out there and therefore we don’t know what the best approach is and so we’ll do nothing! Keeping every bit of documentation and (lack of) action they take on record is a good tactic and liked by solicitors.
Answer 5: Can I reiterate – in this case you should call the HSE local office and send them copies of all the correspondence. You will have enormously more credibility in civil court if your employer has been prosecuted for failing to obey the law (he has a DUTY to read, understand and obey it). The simple threat to bring the HSE in should get things moving. All these laws are actually written not to prosecute lots of employers but to protect employees from bad employers. The very fact of this list and the activity on it recently shows how big the failure of that purpose still is. You’d think that employers would have learnt by now that it is their BEST employees who get damaged this way. The keenest, the hardest working, the ones they always claim they want to keep!!
Answer 6: 7 years? I think you must have misunderstood what he said. Claiming Constructive Dismissal is not the answer, primarily because, even if you succeed, it’s only compensation for the loss of your job, and then limited, not for the pain and suffering of the injury, resulting prejudice on the job market etc. But these CD cases are very hard to prove. You have to show that the employer intended you to leave your job. In your circumstances of why you would leave, you would also have to prove that the job was injuring you, your employer knew that and did nothing about it… If you get that far you have a civil RSI claim anyway. I just checked the web page with the lists of lawyers to consult. I see that the reference to me, under A LeRT, and my article, has my old address.
Answer 7: Is this the address for ALeRT, who I understand undertake to refer people to a choice of solicitors? I have tried to avoid referring people to a particular firm, for obvious reasons — i.e., I would soon have many other firms and individual solicitors asking to have their details listed, and becoming irate if I refused. (I’ve been through this with physiotherapists, Alexander teachers, and suppliers of ergonomic equipment.) My intention on the web page is to avoid the problem by only listing organisations which provide contact details for people to choose from — Accident Line, APIL, and ALeRT. Does ALeRT still exist, and still provide this service?
Answer 8: It is the address of ALeRT. The organisation has wound down a bit following changes in Legal Aid funding but it still exists and enquirers can be referred. But it is also, of course, my practice address. I understand your problem. However why not produce a list of ‘solicitors who are members of the list’. Ditto other experts/consultants. You are not recommending them but simply naming them as members. At least readers will know that the firm will likely have a reasonable understanding of RSI claims from the client’s perspective and of the common issues, as a result of being members of, reading and hopefully contributing to, the list.
Answer 9: I’ve mulled this over, but can’t see that it would be very helpful to a person with RSI who was looking for a therapist/solicitor/supplier etc. I understand the point you’re making — that subscribing to the list might show that the firm or the individual does have an interest in RSI — but what’s equally important, for the searcher, is the level of RSI-relevant experience and training. Since there’s no way I can know anything about such qualifications, simply from the fact that someone subscribes to the list, I feel it’s better for me to keep out of it and stick to telling people where they can get contact details. Then they can visit various firms, therapists, solicitors, etc, and ask the important questions face-to-face.